Woman looking at the damage to her car from a hit and run accident.

Why You Should Avoid Social Media After an Accident

Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and other social media platforms have become ingrained in our everyday lives. We post updates. We check updates. We scroll. Because of how our social media habits have become so strong, you may feel hesitant to take what we are about to say to heart. If you are in an accident, avoid social media for as long as possible. It would be best to avoid it altogether until your claim is settled. This may sound drastic, but it is one of the best things you can do to protect yourself and the validity of your claim. Let’s talk about why that is so.

Why You Should Avoid Social Media After an Accident

After an accident, you may turn to social media for support. After all, it is an online community that can be comforting after a traumatic experience. You may go on social media to let friends and family members know about what has happened. This, however, is not a great idea. Posting about the accident can leave you incredibly vulnerable to investigations launched by the insurance company for the at-fault party.

Think about the kind of things that you may post on social media when talking about the accident. You may tell everyone you are “okay.” Innocuous enough, right? Not really. Dismissing the harm you have suffered by saying you are okay could be turned around by the insurance company to say that you were clearly not injured as you may claim to be. Talking about the details of the accident such as saying, “the car came out of nowhere,” could be misconstrued by the insurance company as you admitting that you were not paying attention to the road or you were clearly engaging in distracted driving. This may seem ridiculous to you, but take it from people who have fought insurance companies again and again, they will use whatever they can to undermine your claim.

People also run into trouble with social media use after an accident by posting every day happenings. Do you post pictures of a weekend kayak adventure? Did you update your friends about a trip you just took? An insurance company will do what they can to access your social media posts and find this type of thing. They will point to these outings and claim that you clearly have not been too severely injured by the accident and obviously the accident hasn’t had much of an impact on you. It may seem like a leap for you, but this is what happens.

If you think your privacy settings are too secure for insurance companies to access your social media posts, then you may want to think again. Privacy settings can be tricky and insurance companies have ways of circumventing them. This is why it is always the safest bet to forego use of social media while you have an injury claim pending. If this is something that you are unwilling to do, then at least limit your social media use and refrain from posting about your accident. Do not accept friend requests from anyone you do not know and use social media thoughtfully.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

At Cooper, Schall & Levy, we know the insurance company tricks and we fight to hold them accountable. We stand up for the injured to help ensure they are fairly compensated for the harm they have suffered.  Contact us today.

cars stuck really close to each other in traffic

How You Can Protect Yourself From Uninsured Drivers

Motor vehicle crashes can cause devastating injuries. On top of the physical, mental, and emotional impact of a car accident, there can also be significant financial implications. There will be medical bills. You may miss work and lose wages as a result. Things can pile up all too quickly. Those injured in accidents caused by the negligence of another often rely on the insurance coverage of the at-fault driver to compensate them for the harm they have suffered. Pennsylvania law requires all drivers to carry insurance coverage for such situations. Unfortunately, this does not mean every Pennsylvania driver actually carries insurance. There are many drivers without any insurance at all and even more that only carry the bare minimum, leaving them underinsured should they cause significant damages in a car accident. The possibility of being injured by an uninsured or underinsured driver is all too real. Let’s take a look at how you can protect yourself.

How You Can Protect Yourself From Uninsured Drivers

Whether a driver is uninsured or underinsured, meaning they lack the insurance coverage to fully cover the damages they have caused in an accident, the financial consequences for you can be downright crippling. You may be able to go after the at-fault driver personally, seeking compensation from them directly by accessing their assets, but this can be difficult to do. Even if you can get a damages judgment against them, they may lack the assets to fully compensate you for the harm you have incurred due to the accident. The fact of the matter is that it can be a dangerous game to play when you put all of your faith on another driver’s ability to adequately cover your expenses should you be injured in an accident they caused. This is why it is a good idea to consider getting uninsured or underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) coverage.

If you opted for UM coverage or will be trying to seek compensation from the at-fault party personally, through their insurance carrier, or both, it will still be important to protect yourself by preserving your claim as best as possible. There are several things you can do to help accomplish this. For starters, you can call 911 after the accident. Law enforcement will arrive on the scene and an official accident report will be generated as a result. The accident report is a critical piece of evidence in supporting an injury claim later on.

You should also take notes about the accident as soon as possible so that your memory of the details is still fresh. Note the date, time, and location of the accident as well as what happened. If there are any witnesses to the accident, try to get their names and contact information. Taking pictures at the scene can also be helpful. Pictures can be compelling pieces of evidence in an accident injury claim, showing the damage more clearly than one may be able to with just words alone.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Getting the monetary recovery, you deserve after an accident can be difficult. At Cooper, Schall & Levy, we tirelessly pursue every potential avenue of recovery to help ensure that you are properly compensated. Contact us today.

Car driving down the road

Accessing Camera Footage After a Car Accident

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may want to bring a personal injury claim against the at-fault party or, in most cases, against their insurance carrier. Through the claim, you can seek compensation for the harm you suffered as a result of the accident which can include medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more. There will, however, be hurdles to recovering this compensation. Insurance companies will not easily hand over monetary compensation. They will require fairly extensive proof and supporting evidence of who caused the accident as well as the resulting injuries sustained due to the accident. There are a number of ways to provide support as to what happened in the accident and who caused it. One of the more compelling ways to do this is through camera footage of the accident.

Accessing Camera Footage After a Car Accident

To be clear, camera footage of a car accident may not always be deemed admissible evidence should your claim wind up in court. It can, however, still be extremely useful during the claims process. In hit and run cases, camera footage can also go so far as to help identify the perpetrator of the hit and run who left the scene of the accident.

How you gain access to camera footage after a car accident will largely depend on what type of camera footage you need. There are a number of different cameras that may capture accident footage. For starters, traffic cameras and red light cameras often record such events. These are cameras located at intersections with the purpose of capturing footage of cars that cross into an intersection on a red light. It can be difficult to gain access to traffic camera footage and is made even more complex by the fact that the cameras are owned by a number of different entities. Each entity is likely to have different requirements that must be met prior to releasing the footage.

Surveillance systems for private businesses are also common sources for accident video footage. If your accident was recorded by a business’s surveillance system, getting access to the footage may be as simple as contacting the owner of the business. Many business owners will release the footage just upon request and without further fanfare. Sometimes, however, larger businesses will have certain requirements that must be met before they will release any video footage.

In some cases, law enforcement cameras, such as dashcams or body cams, will capture accident video footage. While dashcams capture footage from the dashboard of the law enforcement vehicle, body cams capture footage from the perspective of the officer. It is actually becoming more and more common for civilians to also have personal dashboard cameras. For accessing civilian dashboard footage, it may be as simple as making a request to that person for the footage. If the footage has been recorded by a law enforcement recording device, things will be far more complicated.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Accident video footage can be compelling evidence in your personal injury claim. The experienced team at Cooper, Schall & Levy is skilled and experienced in navigating the red tape that can bar access to such critical support for your claim. We’re here to help. Contact us today.

Man with cst signing personal injury documents

Including Emotional Distress Damages in Your Car Accident Claim

We all know that car accidents can leave people with devastating physical injuries. Many accident victims need to be immediately transported to the hospital for emergency medical care and will have lasting physical limitations long after the accident debris has been cleared away. What many people take for granted, however, is the fact that the scars left behind in the wake of a car accident can go beyond being physical in nature. Emotional distress is a real impact of being involved in a car accident. The law recognizes this and allows injury victims to seek compensation for the emotional distress they have suffered as the result of being the victim of a car accident caused by the negligence of another. How you calculate and include emotional distress in your car accident claim, however, can be a bit complicated. 

Including Emotional Distress Damages in Your Car Accident Claim

Many who have been injured in a car accident suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, and depression. These are all things to account for in a claim for emotional distress damages. Emotional distress damages, along with pain and suffering damages are considered to be non-economic damages as opposed to economic damages because of how difficult they are to calculate. Economic damages can be based on concrete financial evidence such as medical bills incurred due to an accident. Non-economic damages, however, cannot be based on such figures.

Pain and suffering damages relate to the physical pain an accident victim endures as a result of their injuries. Pain and suffering also include emotional distress which stems from sustaining those injuries and feeling the resulting pain. While it may be difficult to distinguish pain and suffering damages from emotional distress damages, the two are, in fact distinct. The main difference between pain and suffering and emotional distress damage claims is that pain and suffering refer to the emotional distress an accident victim experiences due to their physical injury. Emotional distress damages, on the other hand, relates to the emotional distress experienced prior to enduring any physical signs of injury. They relate to the emotional suffering relating to being involved in the accident and not necessarily being injured in the accident. That is why emotional distress claims can be so difficult to assert. They are separate from the physical manifestations of injury. It is imperative that you seek consultation and treatment with a mental health professional who can give you a specific diagnosis for PTSD, anxiety, depression, or another condition stemming back to the accident.

In order to even be eligible to pursue a claim for pain and suffering, however, you likely need to have purchased a limited tort insurance policy. Without limited tort coverage, you are only allowed to sue for pain and suffering resulting from a car accident if your injury is considered to be a “serious injury” pursuant to Pennsylvania law. The law in Pennsylvania considers an injury serious if it resulted in death, permanent disfigurement, or permanent impairment of a bodily function.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

At Cooper, Schall & Levy, we know that accident injuries are not just physical. The mental and emotional damages are just as real and just as relevant. We fight for you to recover compensation that includes all of your damages. Contact us today.

Personal Injury attorney

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages in Pennsylvania

If you were injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of someone else, the law entitles you to seek compensation for the harm you suffered as a result. Often, this includes physical injury. It is common, however, for a person to incur harm that goes beyond physical injury to things such as emotional trauma, pains in the body, and a reduction in quality of life, among other things. These damages are just as real and just as compensable as more overtly physical injuries. While pain and suffering damages are compensable in a Pennsylvania personal injury claim, however, calculating these kinds of damages can be challenging, but not impossible.

Calculating Pain and Suffering Damages in Pennsylvania

In a personal injury claim, there are two main types of damages. There are economic damages and then there are non-economic damages. Economic damages are things like medical bills, lost wages, and other things that are easily calculated. These are damages that can be calculated using bills and pay stubs, among other financial records. On the other side of things, non-economic damages are much more difficult to calculate as they cannot be based on things like medical bills. Pain and suffering will include things like emotional trauma and scarring as well as loss of quality of life and future pain and suffering.

The subjective nature of pain and suffering makes it difficult to calculate using a set and predictable method. Everyone will perceive a person’s pain and suffering differently and so pain and suffering damage awards can widely vary. To have some consistency in the process, insurance companies usually use their own set formula in assigning a value to pain and suffering. One of the most common formulas is to total up the injured person’s medical bills and lost wages. Then, that figure is multiplied by a number between 1 and 5. The multiplying number will be selected based on the nature and severity of the injuries involved. The other more common formula used by insurance companies is to assign a per diem amount and multiply it by the number of days until the injury victim is considered to be fully recovered.

Before you can get to speculating on how much you can recover for pain and suffering, however, you must be sure that you can actually bring a claim for such damages. If you have a full tort auto insurance policy, then you will be free to make a claim for pain and suffering damages if you have been injured in an accident. If you have a limited tort policy, however, you can only recover pain and suffering damages if you have sustained what is considered to be a serious injury under Pennsylvania law. A serious injury is considered to be one that is fatal or led to a permanent disfigurement of impairment of bodily function.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Insurance companies will seek to take advantage of the difficulty inherent in assigning a value to pain and suffering. They are likely to offer the lowest possible compensation. The team at Cooper, Schall & Levy is prepared to fight for you and your right to be fully and fairly compensated for all of your damages, including pain and suffering. Contact us today.

Man sitting with hands on face looking sad

The Mental Effects of Being in a Car Crash

Being in a car crash is an undeniably traumatic experience. Not only are you left with the memories of the crash itself, but you may also have suffered injuries which can also have an impact on your mental state long after the crash has occurred. While many people focus on the physical effects of being in a car crash, which are important and can be severe, the mental effects of being in a car crash are just as real and can be severe as well. To help shed light on this important topic, we want to go into a discuss of some of the prominent mental impacts a car accident victim may experience.

The Mental Effects of Being in a Car Crash

Many car accident victims find that they experience a range of mental effects after the crash. The mental impacts can often come up expectantly and the accident victim may not even realize at first that the mental impacts are a result of the accident. They may not feel like themselves, but fail to make the connection. 

An accident victim may experience trouble focusing or concentrating after a crash. This can occur for a number of reasons. One of the most common reasons is that the accident victim sustained a head injury or even a traumatic brain injury in the crash. This is a very serious type of injury and may go undiagnosed without the victim being aware of its possible symptoms. Undiagnosed traumatic brain injuries can lead to the victim suffering further harm and extensive medical complications. If you have been in an accident and experience any of the following symptoms, report them immediately to your doctor:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Memory problems
  • Sleep disruptions
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sensitivity to light or sound

Anxiety after an accident may not necessarily be due to an accident victim sustaining a traumatic brain injury. It can also be a symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Being in a car accident is a traumatic event. Thus, accident victims may very well experience symptoms associated with PTSD. PTSD symptoms may include:

  • Anxiety
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating.

Emotional trauma is also a common impact experienced by car accident victims. After all, the crash itself can be traumatic. The far reaching impacts of the crash can also be traumatic. Consider the difficulty accident victims may face in trying to cope with the pain of their injuries, the disruption to their lives, the limits they may face due to their injuries, the inability to participate in the things that used to bring them joy, the strain all of this can place on relationships with friends, family members, and loved ones, and more. It is a lot for one person to handle and this can all take a serious emotional toll.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Remember, mental impacts of a car crash are compensable damages just as physical injuries are. The team of dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cooper, Schall & Levy will fight to see to it that you are properly compensated for all of the damages you have sustained due to a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence. Contact us today.

motorcycle splitting lanes on highway

Determining Fault in a Lane-Change Accident

Lane change accidents have always been a problem on U.S. roads. A driver merges into a lane or turns into a lane and there is already a vehicle right there. Despite the advances in car safety technology such as blind spot monitors or sounds to alert a driver to someone in an adjoining lane spot, the problem persists. This could be due to a number of reasons, but it is most often due to distracted driving our outright careless driving.

Lane change accidents can lead to significant property damage and serious injury. You have a legal right to pursue damages against a driver whose negligence leads you to suffer harm, but how do you determine who is at fault in a lane change accident? This is an important question to know the answer to as it can have a serious impacts on your right to be compensated for the damages you may have suffered in the accident.

Determining Fault in a Lane-Change Accident

Being aware of your surroundings and being constantly vigilant is the key to keeping yourself and others safe on the roads. This will involve using a car’s safety features such as your mirrors and it will also involve checking your blind spots before doing things like turning or changing lanes or merging into traffic. While you can take great steps toward avoiding lane change accidents on the road, defensive maneuvers and vigilance may not be enough to protect yourself from someone else’s recklessness on the road.

Lane change accidents are often caused by drivers who do not use their turn signal to notify other drivers of a maneuver they are about to make. They can be caused by drivers who fail to check their mirrors and their blind spots. Sometimes, a lane change accident may be made by a driver trying to quickly cross multiple lanes of traffic all at once. Engaging in reckless driving maneuvers or negligently operating your vehicle by not taking standard safety precautions before changing lanes may mean you are at fault for causing a lane change accident. Sometimes, multiple drivers may be at fault for causing a lane change accident.

In determining who is at fault in a lane change accident, a thorough investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the accident will be critical. Evidence of driver negligence or recklessness will be key in supporting an assertion that they are at fault for causing the accident. Fault is not always clearly identified and it could easily turn into a he said, she said, situation. In determining what actually happened in the accident and who is at fault for causing an accident, evidence such as witness testimony will be key. Physical evidence will also be important. The road debris, nature of the damage to either vehicle, and the positioning of the cars on the roadway can help reconstruct the accident to determine fault.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been involved in a lane change accident, the personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy can help you. We will help fight for your right to pursue full and fair compensation for the damages you have suffered at the hands of a negligent driver. Contact us today.

Woman checking damage on her car after an accident

Is the Driver Always at Fault in a Single-Car Accident?

In most cases, an accident will involve multiple vehicles. Sometimes, however, single-car accidents do occur. You may think that with just one vehicle involved, liability is clear enough. Afterall, one car means there is only one possibility for who is at fault. As in all personal injury situations, things are rarely so simple. Even in single-car accidents, liability is a fact-specific inquiry and will require a detailed analysis of the facts and circumstances of that particular case.

Is the Driver Always at Fault in a Single-Car Accident?

You may have swerved to avoid a squirrel in the roadway. Perhaps you lost control of your vehicle after hitting a deep pothole. These scenarios can all too easily end with the vehicle hitting a building, pole, or other obstructions near a roadway. Single-car accidents can still result in serious damage and can leave vehicle occupants with serious injuries. You are also likely to have a million questions running through your head. Will your insurance cover this? Am I at fault?

Yes, you may be held to be at fault for a single-car accident. If it was your negligence that was the cause of the accident, you will be held liable for the resulting damage. If someone else’s negligence was the cause of the accident, however, they may be the party to carry the fault and would be liable for any damages that resulted from the accident.

Some single-car accidents, for instance, are the result of vehicle defects. Faulty brakes may have caused a driver to be unable to brake in time to avoid collision. Poor wheel alignment may have led to the vehicle being unsafe to operate. If a single-car accident was the result of a vehicle defect, then the vehicle manufacturer or designer may be at fault for the accident and a product liability lawsuit may allow you to recover the damages you have sustained. In a product liability lawsuit, you may pursue damages against the vehicle designer, if there was a problem with the vehicle’s design. Alternatively, you may be able to pursue damages against the vehicle manufacturer if the vehicle was designed properly but a flaw in the way it was made caused it to be dangerous.

A single-car accident may also be the result of improper roadway maintenance or design. Poorly designed roadways or roadways that have been improperly maintained can be dangerous and lead to accidents, single-car accidents included. If your single-car accident was the result of a failure to maintain the roadways or a poorly designed road, you may be able to hold a local government entity responsible for the resulting accident damages. Whoever was responsible for the road design or maintenance may be found to be liable for the accident.

There are also those single-car accidents that are referred to as “unavoidable” accidents. These are the accidents where a motorist swerved or quickly reacted to something like a pedestrian or a bicyclist unexpectedly entering the roadway because they were acting negligently. When a single-car accident is the result of a motorist having to quickly respond to the negligent actions of a cyclist or a pedestrian, then the cyclist or pedestrian may be at-fault for the accident.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been injured in an accident, reach out to the dedicated personal injury team at Cooper, Schall & Levy. We will help evaluate the potential avenues for monetary recovery and fight for you every step of the way. Contact us today.

Roundabout

Safety Benefits and Challenges of Roundabouts

Roundabouts, or traffic circles, were first developed over in the United Kingdom in the 1960s, but are now widely used across the world, including in the U.S. It is, essentially, a circular intersection where cars yield upon entering. The design is intended to foster efficient traffic flow as well as make intersections safer. If you haven’t had much experience or exposure with roundabouts, however, the unfamiliar design may be daunting. Here, we will discuss some of the safety benefits and challenges that come with roundabouts.

Safety Benefits and Challenges of Roundabouts

Roundabouts are often used at intersections that have a history of high crash rates or large traffic delays. The vehicles travel around counterclockwise and the curved design pushes vehicles to slower speeds. Once in the roundabout, drivers proceed to the exits they are needing. The design of the roundabout makes it innately safer than other, traditional intersections that use traffic signals and stop signs to manage traffic flow.

Think about it. At a traffic signal, you avoid many of the most common types of intersection crashes. There are no right-angle or left turn crashes. Head-on collisions, while possible, are very unlikely to occur. Traditional intersections are also far easier to speed through, which makes these types of crashes extra dangerous. With a roundabout, the vehicles travel in the same direction at reduced speeds. This means that the common crash types at traditional intersections are nearly eliminated and that crashes are likely to be less severe due to lower speeds.

Roundabouts have also proven to be safer for pedestrians as well as motorists. As pedestrians walk around the sidewalks which line the perimeter of the traffic circle, they only need to cross lanes of one direction of traffic at a time, since all drivers are moving in the same direction. Additionally, the crossing of lanes is usually shorter and the vehicles are traveling at lower speeds than they would be at traditional intersections.

As you can see, roundabouts have many safety benefits and generally provide an overall safer space for vehicles and pedestrians than that which is afforded by the traditional intersection model. Nothing, of course, is infallible. Roundabouts present their own challenges despite being generally safer than the traditional intersection. Merging, for instance, can create confusion. Conflicts regarding who has the right of way could lead to crashes. Some of the more common types of roundabout crashes include:

  • Vehicles being run off the road
  • Vehicles being sideswiped
  • Vehicles failing to yield the right of way when entering the circular path of the roundabout
  • Vehicles colliding with the central island

Most of these common roundabout crash types of stem from failure to yield the right of way and traveling at unsafe speeds in the traffic circle. In multilane roundabouts, the merging and high speeds can be even more of an issue, particularly for motorists who are not familiar with the traffic pattern presented by a roundabout.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident? Do not hesitate to call the dedicated personal injury attorneys at Cooper, Schall & Levy.  Contact us today.

Red traffic light

Red Light Runners

A vehicle that enters an intersection after the traffic signal has turned red has officially committed the violation of running a red light. If a vehicle has already entered the intersection prior to the light turning red, waiting for a chance to make a left turn, for instance, then this is not considered to be a red light running situation. Furthermore, turning right on red is permitted in some situations and those who come to a complete stop before making a valid turn at the red light are also not considered to be red-light runners, although those who make such a right on red in areas where a right on red is prohibited can still be ticketed.

Now that we have set forth the defining terms as to what is and what is not considered to be a red-light runner, we can get down to the very real dangers involved in running a red light. It is a scarily pervasive problem out there on the roads and people are dying and sustaining serious injuries as a result. We’ll also discuss possible measures to help address the red light running problem in an effort to keep more people on the roads safer.

Red Light Runners

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reports that red light runners cause hundreds of deaths as well as tens of thousands of injuries each year. In 2020 alone, the IIHS reports that 928 people were killed in crashes involving red light running. Of those 928, half were pedestrians, bicyclists, and people in other vehicles that were hit by someone running a red light. That same year, over 115,000 people were injured in crashes involving red light running.

What can be done? The numbers are clear in showing that red light running is a problem. Some advocate for more red light cameras to deter this dangerous driving behavior. A study conducted by the IIHS found that red light cameras ended up reducing fatal red light running crash rates in large cities by 21 percent. Furthermore, the cameras reduce the rate of all fatal crash types at signaled intersections by 14 percent. Red light cameras are meant to act as a deterrent for those tempted to run red lights. After all, law enforcement can only do so much and only be in so many places at the same time. Red light cameras help monitor those intersections that may otherwise be unmonitored.

There are some who argue that red light cameras violate privacy, but this argument tends to not hold much weight. After all, driving is a highly regulated activity, because it is a dangerous and pervasive activity. Those who are licensed to drive agree to operate by the rules of the road and the cameras only seek to monitor this just as other traditional, in-person law enforcement measures would.

In addition to red light cameras, there are also studies showing that proper signal timing can reduce the chance of red light running and, thus, make intersections safer. Providing drivers with an adequate amount of time for a yellow signal before it turns to red can maximize safety at intersections. With enough yellow light time provided, red light running can be reduced and, in turn, so can the number of red light running crashes. Adjusting yellow signal timings combined with the use of red light cameras could show a profound reduction in red light running crashes.

Philadelphia Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured by a red light runner? Do not wait to reach out to the team at Cooper, Schall & Levy for assistance. Contact us today.